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After a trip to Europe, visiting ruins of ancient Rome and Greek antiques, I found myself at the ancestral family estate in Buckingham Shire, England. My distant cousin the Lord of the Manor remarked to me that he found it fascinating that I lived on the very edge of western civilization. Any further steps and I would be speaking Chinese: we both laughed. But should we have?
In the visits of my relative to America or Canada it was usually then on west to Hong Kong. Here as we all knew those who wanted a silk suit or expensive attire or diamonds, earrings, necklaces of exquisite design could be had at such a bargain as could never be purchased anywhere else in the world.
We all of a certain age had known this, from our richer friends who were off and over, showing off their wardrobe, a new suit or pair of shoes at a time. And we all would marvel. How could the starving merchants of ragged Hong Kong in the midst of abject poverty of China and all Asia all around create all these bargains?
We all shrugged and thought none too much of it: virtual free labor from nearby China, British hands off capitalism being allowed free rein to their talents. And how they thrived.
A small fishing port in a vast deep harbor in 1843 had become British Territory on a ninety nine year lease, a west Pacific base was made ready for the ever moving British Navy, with occasional need to limp to a home port for repairs whether by gunship or typhoon.
And so Hong Kong built up wooden structures of blended Chinese and British designs, under British rule and laws but with full rights for all. And Chinese kept coming into this part of China that was not China and you could get rich.
The brutal occupation by Japan during World War Two caused misery and hardship for all. The end of the war brought back the British and even after the revolution and take over of mainland China by Communism, Hong Kong was wisely left alone.
And this would become one of the most amazing transformations of a mighty nation and it following European theoretic of Communism until it became this was the route to common ruin. China helped hold off the west in Korea but in the decades following great order was in process of change.
As of 1950 and the police action in Korea, America helped Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong build shipyards nearby, and each nation has learned how to be an exporter to America in force. And generally they have all incorporated from Greek antiques the democratic tradition of a voice without fear and a vote for all.
So, in harmony, Japan and Korea rebuild in the western model of Greek Democracy, and Hong Kong stayed a colony ruled by London but allowing free British Capitalism. America had forced Japan to embrace both democracy and western capitalism.
Korea and Taiwan embraced both, as have now most every nation in Asia. Democracy more muted, but modified British rules of Adam Smith, adapted through the eyes of America and now seen through the eyes of Asia.
If,as seems possible, this brings us all a little closer to peace and good will and more understanding between people everywhere, is. a good thing.
Buddha and Jesus, so different, shared so much. But mostly, people adorned their highest ruling groups with rare examples of their special status. To have elegance was one thing, but did your mind also sparkle like Aristotle?
And even Aristotle only retired back to his village, and did not go forth with Alexander to spread his words of wisdom to the east. And to tease that famous fast route of a century ago when men could travel around the world in 80 days, we found it fascinating that it is taking so far more than 800,000 days for democracy to not yet become a reality in mighty China.
Although capitalism is doing so well that Chinese are buying back their heritage, even though they still to take care to not criticize the government in open society. But it is coming, Comrades, rest assured. History has ways of lifting us farther from our savage beast within to decent fair minded peoples. Descendants of the very same Vikings who burst the skulls of European citizens like melons now have the highest standards of self regard in the fairness of their laws and the respect of the world.
So, Genghis Wong, show us how you manage this next leap to true civilization, and indeed you a then deserve finally to enter the family of fully respected civilized nations of the modern world. All with faults, all honestly working on them, and with hope for us all, finally working towards all shoulders to the wheel of a cleaner, fairer world, lean here.
write by Lloyd